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Pitt Breaks Away From William & Mary in the Second Half, Wins 80-64



PITTSBURGH — Pitt overcame a sluggish first half and defeated William & Mary, 80-64, at the Petersen Events Center Friday night to end a three-game homestand.

The Panthers (5-3) won all three games this week at home, defeating the Alabama State Hornets on Sunday and the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights on Tuesday. The victory over the Tribe (3-4) is the fifth straight in the series, as the Panthers improve to 9-5 over them. The Panthers are also 19-6 against teams that are currently in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Both teams came out shooting extremely effectively to start out the first half. Pitt shot 4-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from 3-point range, while William & Mary shot 6-for-9 from the field and 2-for-3 from deep and lead 14-12 at the first media timeout.

The Panthers used a layup from graduate guard Jamarius Burton and a 3-pointer from first-year forward Jorge Diaz Graham to take a 17-14 lead.

Pitt then struggled to score any points and William & Mary took advantage. They went on a 12-2 run over five minutes to get a 26-19 lead, as Pitt shot 1-for-11 from the floor and went almost three minutes without any points.

The Panthers responded with a 12-3 run to retake the lead, 31-29, with 4:23 remaining. Junior forward in Blake Hinson scored five points on three free throws and a layup, while junior forward John Hugley made a layup and two foul shots to led the way for the Panthers on the run.

Instead of capitalizing on that run, Pitt as they missed their final seven shots of the first half. They also failed to defend the paint and allowed William & Mary to use a 8-2 scoring run to take a 37-33 lead into halftime. Junior forward Ben Wight and first-year guard/forward Jack Karasinski each scored two baskets down low to put William & Mary up at the intermission.

Wight continued to play well, scoring three buckets on a dunk, a layup and a turnaround jumper to keep the Tribe up 45-43 in the first two and a half minutes of the second half. Wight finished the game with a team-high 24 points on 11-for-16 shooing for the Tribe.

Pitt finally found their rhythm offensively, as they moved the ball around, found good shots and executed far better. They retook the lead, going on a 14-3 run over the next four minutes and making all five of their shots over that stretch.

The Panthers continued to play well offensively and eventually broke out to a 20 point lead with less than five minutes remaining.

Redshirt senior guard Nike Sibande led Pitt in the second half with 12 of his 15 total points and helped to bolster the Panthers to that victory. He also led the team with two steals against the Tribe.

Hugley and Burton also played well in that second half. Hugley scored 10 of his 16 points in that second half and Burton shot 4-for-7 from the field and 2-for-4 from 3-point range to score 10 of his 16 points in the game.

Hinson led Pitt with 17 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season and his first since the opening matchup against UT-Martin. He also possessed the highest plus/minus for a Pitt player with 24 against William & Mary.

The Panthers held the Tribe to 9-for-25, 36% shooting in the second half, including 1-for-9 from 3-point range.

The Panthers also shot 15-for-19, 78.9% from the foul line, their best shooting from their this season. They also shot 11-for-28, 39.3 percent from 3-point range, their highest percentage in a game this season.

Pitt travels next to take on Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Monday, Nov. 28 at 9 p.m.


Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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